Quotes of the day

posted at 6:01 pm on December 25, 2012 by Allahpundit

Should journalists be advocates for tougher gun control measures? It’s a question worth asking as more and more reporters, commentators, and TV anchors are openly promoting stringent gun policies in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut…

More notable are the ostensibly straight-news journalists who have come down on the side of stronger gun control. For example, when a Republican congressman, Georgia’s Jack Kingston, argued on MSNBC recently that tough gun control laws haven’t prevented mass shootings in some European countries, the network’s anchor, Thomas Roberts, responded, “So, we need to just be complacent in the fact that we can send our children to school to be assassinated?”…

At times the stereotype of journalist as anti-gun activist seems institutionally entrenched. For example, Frank Sesno, a former CNN reporter and Washington bureau chief who is now director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, said recently there should be a “media agenda” on guns to push the issue until government action becomes a reality. “The media themselves have a huge opportunity and power and responsibility to channel this,” Sesno told CNN’s Howard Kurtz.

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The media paid scant attention to gun control in the past, in part because of a conviction that the NRA would block any reform on Capitol Hill. At the same time, they took their cue from the fact that officeholders in both parties were avoiding the issue at all costs—Republicans because they mainly support the status quo, Democrats because they mostly deem it political poison.

But since when is it our job solely to take dictation from pols? When it comes to subjects like climate change and same-sex marriage, the press has been out ahead of the political establishment. Given the carnage in Newtown as the latest example, journalists should demand whether we can do better. The fact that Obama now promises to submit gun legislation to Congress will help the narrative, but it shouldn’t be a mandatory requirement for coverage…

Here is where the media have not just an opportunity but a responsibility. The news business has no problem giving saturation coverage to such salacious stories as David Petraeus’ dalliance with Paula Broadwell. Isn’t keeping our children safe from lunatics far more important by an order of magnitude?

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In a discussion about gun control, host David Gregory brandished a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar “assault rifle.” The discussion took place on December 23, during the broadcast of NBC’s Sunday morning political talk show.

Washington D.C.’s gun laws, however, state that even possessing such a device is a violation. Meet the Press is filmed at NBC’s D.C. studios…

Breitbart contacted the office of the police chief and asked if there were any plans to look into this apparent violation of the District’s gun laws. In response, Chief Lanier replied, “Yes, we are investigating the incident to determine if the magazine was in fact real.”

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Prior to yesterday, I never would have thought that possession of an empty magazine, kept separate from ammunition or a weapon, would violate the law, so I sympathize with Gregory on that point.

But I’m less sympathetic than you might expect because fear of unintentionally violating gun laws is one of the things that has kept me from purchasing a handgun…

That’s where we are with many gun laws, the law-abiding responsible citizens who worry about compliance are scared away or risk prosecution for unknowing violations, while the lunatics and criminals don’t care…

Certainly, if [Wayne] LaPierre had shown up with that magazine, there would be howls of gotcha, and widespread media demands for prosecution. Why should NBC News and its star be above the law?

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As the State creates more prohibitions and steals more freedoms, it experiences an unavoidable problem: Those who administer or at least vigorously support the Prohibitive State discover that the laws they wish to inflict on others are uncomfortable straitjackets on themselves…

As the State increases in its ambition to Decide for us, those at the top of the control structure naturally look to excuse themselves from the blessings of Government Surveillance and Prohibition they would so generously grant to us all. And more and more what should be a liberal governance (old meaning of liberal) becomes a decidedly illiberal one, one in which Actions are not paramount, but Status

A liberal governance — again, I mean it in the old way — takes each man as equal and judges his actions only. But a government determined to make decisions for everyone and criminalize anything that it doesn’t actually mandate must begin making these determinations based on Status, because it’s the people with Status who have the ear of officials or friends in the media.

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